Ukraine Latest: Turkey Blocks Sanctioned Goods on Way to Russia

Ukraine Latest: Turkey Blocks Sanctioned Goods on Way to Russia

(Bloomberg) -- Turkey abruptly stopped the transit of sanctioned goods to Russia this month as the European Union and the US pressure allies to support measures imposed over Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

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Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin called for blocked Russian assets to be used to help the reconstruction of Ukraine as she became the latest international leader to visit Kyiv.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy earlier called for sanctions on Russia’s nuclear industry after accusing the Kremlin of targeting Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in Thursday’s missile barrage.

(See RSAN on the Bloomberg Terminal for the Russian Sanctions Dashboard.)

Key Developments

  • Turkey Links Swedish Anti-Terror Law to NATO Membership Approval

  • Putin Decree Puts Popular Route Out of Russia Assets on Hold

  • Kremlin Clears Putin’s Diary for G-20 Summit as Isolation Eases

  • NATO’s Call for Weapons Offers Hope to Town That Armed the Enemy

(All times CET)

Pentagon Puts Priority on Replacing Munitions (2:50 a.m.)

The Pentagon’s $170 billion procurement request for the new fiscal year focuses on replacing munitions supplied to Ukraine as well as well as weapons like long-range missiles, which would be necessary in a conflict with China, according to an internal budget document.

The Defense Department will ask for $76.8 billion for the Navy and Marines, with $32.8 billion in new ship construction; $61 billion for the Air Force, which includes the US Space Force: and $24.4 billion for the Army, according to the official P-1 summary document obtained by Bloomberg News.

Norway to Provide Air Defense Units to Ukraine (5:12 p.m.)

Norway will provide two NASAMS air defense units to Ukraine, in cooperation with the US, the Nordic nation’s defense minister said in a statement.

Adding two more firing units in addition to two provided by the US last year “will significantly improve Ukraine’s ability to protect its cities and critical infrastructure from Russian missile attacks,” said Bjorn Arild Gram, who met Zelenskiy in the Ukrainian capital on Friday.

Belarusian Leader to Visit Iran March 12-13 (4:27 p.m.)

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko is expected to discuss economic ties and the regional situation with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi during a March 12-13 visit to Tehran, according to the Belarusian leader’s press service.

Lukashenko, seen as one of Putin’s closest allies, is set to make the trip about two weeks after meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing. The Kremlin said earlier this week that Putin and Raisi had held a telephone call to discuss cooperation, including the implementation of joint infrastructure projects.

White House Sees Russian Attempt to Weaken Moldova Government (4:25 p.m.)

US intelligence doesn’t see an imminent military threat to Moldova, but does believe Russia is seeking to weaken the Moldovan government by fomenting demonstrations and even a manufactured insurrection, the White House said Friday.

“We are confident in Moldova’s democratic and economic institutions and their abilities to respond to these threats, and of course we will continue to provide robust support,” National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said, without detailing the basis for the US intelligence.

The US has shared intelligence with the Moldovan government and has pledged to sanction those associated with a Russian destabilization campaign, Kirby said. The White House is also seeking a $300 million energy assistance package for Moldova with Congress.

Broad EU Support for Ukraine Trade Benefits: Dombrovskis (4:17 p.m.)

European Union trade ministers back a proposal to extend trade benefits to Ukraine for another year, Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis said in Stockholm, Sweden.

“Today’s discussion showed that there is broad support for this measure,” Dombrovskis said after a meeting with EU trade ministers. While acknowledging that some concerns had been raised about the impact on domestic egg and poultry production, he said the European Commission would propose safeguards against any market distortion.

Ukrainian Economy Minister Yulia Svyrydenko had said before the meeting that that ministers needed to persuade Ukrainian business that the EU market would be open for them, “not only during the war but also after.”

Finland Urges Use of Russian Assets for Reconstruction (3:20 p.m.)

“It is about making Russia pay for the aggression, destruction and losses it caused to Ukraine,” Prime Minister Marin told a joint press-conference with President Zelenskiy in Kyiv.

Finland fully supports efforts to set up an international tribunal for Russian war crimes and will continue to provide military support for Ukraine, she said.

Turkey Blocks Transit of Goods Sanctioned to Russia (1:29 p.m.)

The Turkish government ordered a halt to the transit of sanctioned goods via Turkey from March 1 in compliance with sanctions, according to a senior official speaking on condition of anonymity.

The country has emerged as one of the havens for Russian wealth and a center for sourcing goods over the past year. Turkey’s exports to Russia rose to $9.3 billion in 2022 from $5.8 billion a year earlier.

Kremlin Clears Putin’s Diary for G-20 Summit in India (1:20 p.m.)

For the moment, the Kremlin plans for Putin to participate in September’s G-20 summit after he skipped the last two, but no final decision has been made, according to people familiar with the planning.

India has formally invited Putin to the summit and the Kremlin has accepted. Last year, amid pressure from the US and its allies over the war, Putin dropped plans to attend a gathering in Indonesia and sent Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in his place.

Read More: Kremlin Clears Putin’s Diary for G-20 Summit as Isolation Eases

Finland’s Marin Visits Kyiv (12:45 p.m.)

Finland’s Sanna Marin and Zelenskiy laid flowers at a memorial to fallen troops and attended the funeral ceremony of a soldier killed in Bakhmut.

Latvia Ships Cars Seized From Drunk Drivers (12:40 p.m.)

Cars seized by Latvian authorities as part of drunk-driving violations are being shipped to Ukraine in the latest act of solidarity by one of the staunchest EU backers of the government in Kyiv.

Authorities in the Baltic nation, which began confiscating cars from motorists driving under the influence of alcohol in November, transported eight vehicles this week, the state revenue service said. They’ll be used for the Ukrainian military and hospitals. As many as 200 more are awaiting transportation, it said.

US Envoy Tells Orban to Pivot From Russia (12:30 p.m.)

The US ambassador to Hungary said Prime Minister Viktor Orban has reached a crossroads and that the “time is now” for him to pivot away from Russia and shore up the country’s relations with its western allies. “Hungary has reached an important moment in determining its future path,” Ambassador David Pressman said in a statement.

The unusually direct remark for a sitting US ambassador about a NATO partner’s international policy adds to mounting pressure on Orban to end his more than decade-long effort to strengthen ties with Russia. On Thursday, Orban said Hungary may need to “think hard” about its cozy relationship with Moscow following Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

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